Thursday, September 3, 2009

Please support NEAT and the City's new blight ordinance at Tuesday's Council Meeting.

You may or may not have been following NEAT's involvement in Middletown's new blight ordinance. So, here's the update.

This past June, (read about it in the Middletown Press) after many years of complaints by residents who were tired of living next to blighted buildings, NEAT held a workshop to discuss the efficacy of Middletown's Blight Ordinance. Many council people, city department heads and community members came together to discuss the pros and cons, the weaknesses and strengths. At that meeting, everyone agreed that the current ordinance is not an effective document, and that over the next few months it would be rewritten based on Bristol, CT's model.

Since then, the document has gone through department review, ordinance review and review by NEAT members. You can read the new draft here.

It is a much more complete document now, with a greater focus on code enforcement. Before, the ordinance was effective in designating a property as "blighted," but it stopped there. There was little in place to help with remedy. This new ordinance is more focused on preventing buildings from deteriorating to a blighted state in the first place.

I urge you to come to the common council meeting this Tuesday, September 8th to sit with NEAT members and (if you're comfortable) speak in favor of this new ordinance which has much tougher enforcement rules and standards.

The meeting is at 7 pm in the council chambers at city hall (245 deKoven Dr.)

NEAT also believes that we need to take this a step farther and create a liscensing program for property owners, where the revenue generated could pay for an additional inspection officer to regularly inspect rental properties in Middletown. NEAT will be working with the city to create a model that works for Middletown.

Please contact NEAT if you'd like more information. Also, you can check out the article in this month's Chronicle (sorry, no link), and there will be stories on this in this weekend's Hartford Courant and next Sunday's New York Times Real Estate Section.

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